Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Journalism: Fact-checking assignment

Media watchdogs

Who wrote it? Who is the intended audience? Domains reveal website authors and audience

The last three letters of a url (uniform resource locator) or link will tell you a great deal about who owns a website, who writes the content and what their purpose is. To find out more about a website, check it on Whois.

TLD* Abbreviation for: Who uses it Url of example website
.com commercial commercial entities https://www.amazon.com/
.edu education universities and colleges https://www.berkeley.edu/
.gov government U.S. government  https://www.usgs.gov/
.net network network infrastructure https://www.slideshare.net/
.org organization nonprofit organizations https://www.sierraclub.org/
.mil military U.S. military https://www.marines.mil/

*top-level domain

Evaluating websites

Click on each link to discover who the author is and run it through the P.R.O.V.E.N. test.

Link (find domain name) Purpose Reliability Objectivity Verifiability Expertise Newness
A link to a website            
Another link            
Also a link            
Here's another            
And finally            

FactCheck.org worksheet

Fact or fiction?

  1. In an open web search, decide whether a website can be trusted.
  2. Research a claim.
  3. Decide whether a partisan website is trustworthy.
  4. Identify strengths and weaknesses in a social media video.
  5. Read a tweet and decide whether it provides useful information.

1. Evaluate this article by answering:

  1. What type of publication or forum does the article appear in?
  2. Who wrote it? Is the author a journalist, an academic or other expert?
  3. Does the article cite pro, con and neutral sources? Identify these.
  4. What is the domain name and what does it tell you about the audience for the article?
  5. Write a response to one of the comments at the end of the article.

2. Evaluate this claim: DACA: An Abuse of Power

  1. What type of publication or forum does the article appear in?
  2. Who wrote it? Is the author a journalist, an academic or other expert?
  3. Does the article cite pro, con and neutral sources? Identify these.
  4. What is the domain name and what does it tell you about the audience for the article?
  5. Write a response to one of the comments at the end of the article.

3. Are these partisan websites trustworthy? Are they liberal, conservative or nonpartisan?

4. Identify strengths and weaknesses in a social media video.

  • Your thoughts here.

5. Read a tweet and decide whether it provides useful information.

  • What did you learn and what do you think about it?